Muscat – The decks have been cleared for the establishment of a National Centre for Organ Transplantation with the blessings of His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, according to Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Sa’eedi, Minister of Health.
Oman Transplantation Society recently held a national symposium on organ transplant under the auspices of Dr Sa’eedi, in the presence of Sheikh Dr Kahlan Nabhan al Kharusi, assistant grand mufti.
During the opening of the symposium, Dr Sa’eedi confirmed that His Majesty the Sultan has given his blessings for the establishment of the National Centre for Organ Transplantation.
According to the minister, establishment of the national centre requires unifying efforts in the health sector and enhancing awareness in society on organ donation through media, including social media.
He also noted that localisation of organ transplantation is a basic priority and organ donation the responsibility of every individual in society.
Dr Sa’eedi informed that organ transplantation in Oman started in 1988 with kidney transplants, “but it is unfortunate that development in this field was very slow for several reasons. In 2017, we started liver transplants. The outbreak of the pandemic forced us to stop that programme. However, now it has resumed at The Royal Hospital”.
He described the challenges facing organ transplantation in Oman as “many”, including non-availability of medical personnel specialised in the field. “Also, the number of donors makes transplantations very limited.”
There are more than 2,260 patients on dialysis in the sultanate, who often visit dialysis centres in the morning and then leave for work, Dr Sa’eedi informed. “These patients face psychological and physical suffering. The sultanate is equipped to perform organ transplantations, especially kidney transplants. We must now begin to do more organ transplantations, including liver, bone marrow and cornea.”
Assistant grand mufti Dr Kharusi clarified that organ donation is permissible under Islamic law because it saves lives.
“But organ donation must be free of charge; an organ must not be sold. Islam urges saving lives and donating organs is one way of doing so. God has said in the Holy Quran, ‘And whoever saves one life, it is as though he has saved the lives of all mankind,” Dr Kharusi said.
The decision has been welcomed by many in the sultanate. Suleiman al Hashemi tweeted, “The establishment of the centre is very good news. It will help many patients who suffer from organ failure and need urgent transplants.”
Khalid al Balushi described the centre as a step in the right direction. “It will save thousands of patients in need of organ transplants. I hope Oman Transplantation Society and competent authorities in the Ministry of Health follow up and expedite the process of setting up the centre.”
Ali al Hamdani said, “Many people travel abroad for organ transplants and pay a lot of money. Unfortunately, some of them are also duped. The centre will protect these patients and save them money, effort and time.”